Edmonton organizations merge to save city’s Distress Line

EDMONTON – The Canadian Mental Health Association’s Edmonton Region and The Support Network have merged to create one organization.

On a monthly basis, 1,500 Edmontonians use the Distress Line, with 500 of them facing a crisis, according to the amalgamated organization.

READ MORE: Edmonton area mom demands better mental health care after teen daughter’s suicide 

Nancy McCalder, executive director of the Support Network, said creating a single organization will secure a brighter future for the Distress Line.

“It was becoming increasingly obvious to me that funding shortages were placing the Distress Line, together with the other services we offer, at risk. We needed to act to save supports that Edmontonians in crisis depend on.”

The organization calls the Distress Line “the difference between life and death” for some searching for help.

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WATCH: Every year, 500 Albertans die by suicide. It’s the third highest rate in the country. Now, one mother is calling for changes to our mental health system. Fletcher Kent reports.

The amalgamated organization will retain the name Canadian Mental Health Association – Edmonton Region.

Executive Director Ione Challborn believes the two organizations are a perfect fit.

“Together we’ll be in a stronger position to empower Edmontonians to take control of what’s going on in their lives with a full range of services aimed at intervention and prevention of mental health, mental illness and suicide, along with education,” said Challborn.

Earlier this week, Global News completed a three part series on mental health and suicide that told the stories of people and families struggling with the illness and have found it difficult to access help.


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